PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - I love looking at how the world of art attempts to capture the grandeur of the sky, a storm, a lightning bolt, just a cloudy day. Over the years, it has changed rather dramatically as, I think, photographs have added to the details of weather paintings.

The old paintings you’re about to see in this article are all in the public domain. Let’s start off with a couple that capture lightning.

[APP USERS: Click/tap here for 1850s painting of lightning]

1850s Lightning

Early lightning was depicted with more zig zag lines than what it actually looked like.

Lightning in Art

More zig zag lightning

[APP USERS: Click/tap here for painting of zig-zag lightning]

Early artists had a tough time with lightning. Many times, the bolts ended up being more zig-zag looking than like lightning itself. But with the first photographs of lightning in the late 1800s, artists started getting lightning right when they wanted to. Here’s a recent Ed Mell painting where the landscape and storm are totally abstract.

Single Strike by Ed Mell

Single Strike by Ed Mell circa 2015

I like this early painting of a wall cloud. Though it may not be perfect, the painting does capture the energy of the approaching storm.

Approaching Storm

John Curry circa 1850.

[APP USERS: Click/tap here for painting of wall cloud]

One of my favorite “weather” artists is Alan Atkins, who was mainly an illustrator for magazines in the early 1900s. He had a thing about snow. Here’s a cover from a Fortune Magazine in 1938.

Fortune Magazine

Cover of Fortune Magazine, February 1938

And this is a cover from a Standard Oil Bulletin from 1942.

Standard Oil Bulletin

Standard Oil Bulletin, February 1942

Now, if I could only draw.

3TV Chief Meteorologist Royal Norman always has his eye on the radar and how weather conditions might affect the people of Arizona.  He also loves telling those quintessential stories that are uniquely Arizona. With 35 years of experience forecasting weather and his vast knowledge of Arizona and its micro climates, Royal is an Arizona Weather Authority. 
 
 


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